Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Leading to Edification

“Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification” (Romans 15:2)


I remember the moment the mind shift was taking place in me. I was in my twenties; Greg and I were newlywed. Honestly, I was angry at God! Well, I was angry at Greg and letting God have it. Poor guy! We were in another of those early marriage spats. You know, the moment when you are yelling because they squeezed the toothpaste roll the wrong way. I quickly learned. Greg gets his own tube. I want to squeeze the way I squeeze my toothpaste! But the fight had nothing to do with the toothpaste, but with an unmet expectation that had not been clearly communicated. I cannot even remember what we were fighting about, but we were fighting again! UGH! I was reading my Bible and letting God have it because Greg wasn’t getting his stuff together! I was the master at telling God what Greg needed to grow up in. Sometimes, we can be masters at pointing out other’s faults. O God, forgive us! 

BUT GOD, kindly and graciously reminded me in my daily Bible reading that it was not about Greg. It is never about Greg. It is ALWAYS about me when it is a matter that I am talking to Him about in prayer. God wanted me to stop talking about what Greg was doing wrong and to start thinking about what I was doing wrong and what I needed to do to live right. UGH! SERIOUSLY! I thought to myself, “Can I not even whine in my prayers to You?” And again, God kindly reminded me that I could whine and tell Him all about my woes and worries, but that is where it must stop and then I must listen and obey. Why? Because God wants me to live my life so that I lead in edification! 

I am a bride. Can I lead? You betcha! I LEAD! It is as much my responsibility to lead as it is Greg’s and God was not going to let me off the hook! This morning I caught myself asking, what does it mean to lead with edification? God took me back to that memory of when He started teaching me this principle. If you would have asked me then if God was teaching me to live out a life that builds up, I would not have been able to see it. At the time, it felt more like God was tearing me down. But God grew me up in it despite me. 

The Greek word for edify is oikodome’. It means to build a house. Literally, visualize a house that is being built stone by stone. 

I once read that stone arches were used because of how they were so sturdy. Each stone was piled up on the other in such a way that the pressure caused them to provide support and stability that made them strong. The stones edified one another! It was in the stones leaning into each other that they were able to provide a beautiful archway that supported the infrastructure, and, in many cases, it weathered the elements and lasted years beyond the use of the entire building.

Greg and I had to learn to lean into each other as we faced pressure. We had to learn how to speak to one another in such a way that it built up (edified) rather than tore down. I needed to ask myself, “Do my words build my Greg up or do they tear him down?” He needed to ask it, too, but I am only allowed to talk and deal with my own sin. And y’all, I had much to learn and still do. 

Beyond marriage, I am grieved by so much that happens around me. I hurt when I see two people not able to talk about COVID vaccines without ripping apart the other person. It is as if we have forgotten how to build up. We are no longer leaning in and helping each other to be stronger. Greg read this verse to me this morning and it is a great reminder because it applies to how we react and interact with each other. “Be careful that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak” (1 Corinthians 8:9). We don’t want to be the stumbling block. And it seems that this issue is becoming a massive stumbling block. How can we lean into each other and help support each other in our decisions? 

It grieves my heart when I hear people getting nasty over politics. History reminds us that politics and division will always be there, but it is the one that loves that can change the course of history. We need to live by ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:31). 

Do I lead to edify in these situations? Sometimes, I have to stop myself midsentence and choose to do a redirect! Not because I am avoiding or running away, but because I love the person more than I love my opinion. I need to lean into them to make us both stronger and this provides stability. What can I learn from them? How can we use this pressure to help us get stronger and make us more stable as we support each other? How can I be a servant in the moment and make it less about me and more about understanding them? 

Jesus commanded us, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors exercise authority over them. It shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant…” (Matthew 20:25). 

If I am leading to edification then I am thinking about the other person’s heart, their mind, their soul, and yes even their spirit! I have to ask myself, “Am I a giving instruction that is helpful, useful, kind? Am I saying it in a way that builds up? Can I see that the way I am communicating is designed to improve, instruct, encourage, and bless? 

How does leading to edification challenge you today? Are you willing to pause and ask God how you might need to shift in tone, word, deed so that you lead to edify? 

Today, I will be asking myself, how am I leading to edification? 

Shalom y’all!

Saturday, November 6, 2021

A Prayer to Pray When You Hear of Wars and Rumors of Wars


How do I live in prayer and worship during seasons of war? 

I turned to King David to see how he prayed since he was known as the man after God's own heart. David recognized that the LORD's training was continuous. It never ends. It does not matter if it is training the hands for a physical battle or if it is training the hands for a spiritual battle the LORD will train His warrior for the battle. We must remember that our physical battles and our spiritual battles are opportunities for spiritual strength to be trained and revealed. We do not face either one without the LORD's preparation if we are His child calling upon His name. 

Consider reading Psalm 144. 

Do you see that David used praise as a weapon of war? 

Do you see how David spends more time talking about God rather than the enemy? 

In what ways might David's Psalm be a sacrifice of praise? 

How does this Psalm show that David feared the LORD and not man? 

My Rock and My Fortress (Psalm 144 Of David) 

1 Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; 2 he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. 3 O Lord, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him? 4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow. 5 Bow your heavens, O Lord, and come down! Touch the mountains so that they smoke! 6 Flash forth the lightning and scatter them; send out your arrows and rout them! 7 Stretch out your hand from on high; rescue me and deliver me from the many waters,from the hand of foreigners, 8 whose mouths speak lies and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood. 9 I will sing a new song to you, O God; upon a ten-stringed harp, I will play to you, 10 who gives victory to kings, who rescues David his servant from the cruel sword. 11 Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, whose mouths speak lies and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood. 12 May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace; 13 may our granaries be full, providing all kinds of produce; may our sheep bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields; 14 may our cattle be heavy with young, suffering no mishap or failure in bearing; may there be no cry of distress in our streets! 15 Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord! 

What character traits of God do you see? 

How can you pray these character traits over you, your family, your nation? 

What character trait do you cling to right now and why? 

What do you learn about David? 

What do you learn about the enemy? 

What do you need to do based on what you discovered? 

In case you did not know, the word foreigner here does not mean nationality! It references the person or people that reject God and the commands of God. This person or people groups' actions are traitorous. They are liars and deceivers with both their words and actions. This person or people group cannot be trusted and does not respect the sanctity of life. These are the ones that David is asking God to scatter.

Friday, November 5, 2021

His Life is in Your Hands

Have you ever been crushed by someone’s words? Have you known someone who gave you life by what they said? 

Today’s devotional, written by Tara Rye,  reminds us of the power of our words. 

Read it here:

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

"I do!"

30 years ago today Greg and I said, "I do!" 

Have you ever thought what those two words really mean?

Love is an action and in our marriage vows it is spoken as, "I do!" 

"I do" means that I am your yes and amen (so be it). Consider just some of the ways we "I do" through the years...

"I do" to you! 
"I do" time with you!
"I do" lots of talking with self-disclosure exposing my highs and lows with you!
"I do" laughter and tears with you!
"I do" celebrations and devastations! 
"I do" births and deaths with you!
"I do" the best of my physical being and the worst of me with you!
"I do" disappointments and surprises with you!
"I do" natural phenomenon and disasters with you!
"I do" family both the good and the bad with you!
"I do" life knowing and serving with you! 
"I do" gathering of friends, coworkers, and neighbors with you! 
"I do" struggle and worship with you.
"I do" dinners, meals, feasts and fasts with you.
"I do" seasons, years, months, weeks, hours and minutes with you.
"I do" means I die to me and say yes to you.

Every day and every moment is  offered as an "I do" to you.

We have had 30 years of "I do" Greg Rye both the good and the bad and here we are stilling saying "I do". 

I am a better human because I said, "I do" to you! 

Thanks babe for being you!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Esther: A Queen's Dignity (Esther 1-2)

What does dignity look like? Do you know someone that you think of when you think of dignity? I love this section of Esther because it shows that for one woman dignity is revealed by saying, "No!" to the king. For the other woman, dignity was revealed by her walking with a "yes" as she moved obediently through the process! Both of them were dignified in their response. The other thing that blesses me about Esther's story is that even though God is not mentioned you can see His providential hand at work. Crazy factoids I discovered as I studied this book. Greece was holding its 79th Olympics during this time frame! Crazy to think the Olympics have been going on that long. The other thing that blew my mind was the extense of Xerxes territories as the King of Persia. His kingdom spanned through Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Jordan, Lebanon as well as parts of Egypt, Sudan, Libya, and Arabia. No wonder his party lasted 180 days as he welcomed all of his territories! I imagine the dignitaries were coming and going as they arrived on the scene! Apparently, Persia loved to party! The first two chapters have three parties and as we watch this true story unfold we will see that Esther holds her own parties. Even the bad guy hangs out with his friends and family in between scenes! This was one communal group! Yet, through it all, we will discover that God can use one person that is willing to be used by Him to help change things for a nation.

Monday, October 18, 2021



When I received a friend request from a man wearing a topi I was intrigued. I thought, Why would he be friending me? After checking out his profile to make sure he was a safe person I friended him. I always examine my friend requests before I accept them. I try to say yes as much as possible because I use my social media for ministry. 

 The next day he wrote on one of my posts to pray for his country. I asked for the name of this country, and he shared it with me. I wrote it down in my prayer journal and started praying the next day. That night I received the longest message in messenger telling me about his people group. 

I learned that the there is 0% literacy among the women and that the men have less than 2%. They take care of cattle and cotton crops. They don’t have tv’s, radios, or Wi-Fi and no Bible is published yet in their language. I also learned that the women are not allowed to use cell phones or in their culture there is no need to do so. They are truly an oral culture. 

He then asked me, “Will you disciple my wife in Bible storytelling?” 

He shared that he prayed and asked God to give him someone that would teach his wife so she could disciple their women because he realized that if they don’t teach the women the Bible then their culture would never change. 

I found myself asking God, “God is this my person of peace? Am I to do this?” and immediately I heard in my heart a resounding, “Yes!” 

My response was, “Here I am, LORD!” We set up a time to meet. Late at night for my husband Greg and me and early morning for them. Now three months later and sixteen Bible stories, this couple is like family to my husband and me. We cannot wait for our Zoom calls and are eager for messages about what is happening in their lives. 

Somehow GOD in HIS sovereign will chose us to go to a place we never thought possible to make disciples through ZOOM of all things. 

We use several different methods as we train: conversations, stories, questions, art, stick figure drawing, graphs, and PowerPoint slides. 

Sometimes Greg and I are up early, and they are up late. We change the time based on the rhythm of our needs, but we remain faithful to giving the Word of God as accurately as we can orally so they can hear the Scriptures in their heart language. 

Greg or I tell the Bible story and then our friend interprets it to his wife so she can hear it. Then she repeats the story back and he interprets it to us so we can tell if she understood correctly. She then meets with five to eight women from five different villages on Friday nights and tells them the Bible stories. They tell them back to her and she checks to make sure they know it. They then go home and tell people the Bible stories in their villages. The women then report back stories of what happened. It is a circle dance of listening, sharing, teaching, listening, sharing, teaching with questions mixed in to help us all understand. 

The NARION theme for 2021 is Mark 13:10 “And the gospel must first be communicated to all nations.” (Mark 13:10). 

Our theme is ALL NATIONS BY ALL MEANS! As I prayed God put on my heart four words that we should remember. 
The first word that God put on my heart is PANTA TA ETHNE! In the great commission God gave us the command to go to all nations by all means. 

All Nations is the PANTA TA ETHNE. There are debates among theologians on whether this word represents the geography, the anthropology, the linguistic, or the Gentile. But in the scheme of things all agree we must go and if someone doesn’t know then we must find a way to get the Scriptures to them in their heart language. 

According to the Joshua Project 41.8% of the world’s population in completely unreached with the message that God so loved them that He gave His only Son, Jesus, to die for them! And if you add up all of the columns except the significantly reached 77.4% of the world’s population needs more people that are willing to say, “Here I am!” 

This bring us to our next word Hineni (Hnaynee) which means “HERE I AM!” 

It appears 17 times in four books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Samuel, and Isaiah). 

My friend that contacted me over social media was willing to use social media to reach out to the nations for help! He was willing to ask me if I was willing to say, “Here I am! I will go to the nations!” He was willing to ask me, when culture would say, a man should not ask a woman for help. He went ahead and asked. He recognized that God was urging him to do so, so he obeyed. 

Hineni is about a call and response. 


 God is seeking our full attention for His purpose. 


 We have a to make choice. 
   • Am I willing to sacrifice? 
   • Am I willing to obey the call? 

There is great risk in saying, “HERE I AM!” 
   Think of Abraham with Isaac. 
   Think of Joseph searching out his brothers before they threw him in a pit and sold him as a slave. 
   Think of Moses facing his past as a murderer before he could lead the nation out of bondage in Egypt.  

Hineni says… 
   Here I am with ALL of ME! 
   Here I am ready to face whatever is before me! 
   Here I am to do whatever You lead me to! 
   Here I am to go wherever You tell me to go! 

Hineni is… 
   Into the unknown 
   Requires faith  Expects surrender 
   Faces pain 
   Embraces needs of others 
   Dives into the deep 
   Is willing to do God’s circle dance  

Our dear sister Nancy Wilson is a person who lived out Hineni! Nancy served as a Global Ambassador with CRU on the StoryRunners team. She traveled the globe as she surrendered to her Hineni. Nancy visited over 70 countries. She lived out “Here I am” for the nations. She used many methods to reach others. She was an incredible storyteller. She used her clothes as an opportunity to tell stories and draw people into conversations. She used prayer, events, books, and speeches. Nancy used everything at her disposal to reach the nations. 

We want to take a moment to recognize her and say we miss her. We celebrate the life of our dear friend Nancy. Nancy lived out a beautiful circle dance for Jesus all over the world. 

Which leads us to the next word. Marharal. Marharal is the Circle dance! 

It is what Miriam did when they crossed the Red Sea! 
  • The Circle dance celebrates our connection to God and to each other. 
 • The Circle dance is about movement. 
 • The Circle dance is about unity. o In the Circle dance each person will move through the circle from person to person taking the next person’s place. Together moving in unity! You are never stationary and you are never alone!
 • The Circle dance celebrates in community. 
 • The Circle dance is focused on God! He is at the center! The movement is not about the one moving, but the one with whom we encircle! We are all dancing for His glory and praise! 

As I listened to this description at a wedding recently, I thought, “What a beautiful picture of ministry!” 

We each play our part and we keep moving in unity as we seek to follow our “Here I am” LORD call. 

We cannot do this alone! We must do this together and we must do it through many ways. 

This leads me to our last word Multi-modal. 

As we go to the nations with our ‘Here I am’ response and join the circle dance we must be willing to use whatever means possible to reach the unreached. 

Multi-modal is using various methods, strategies, or modes of communication in order to increase meaning. 

Multi-modal is 
 • Adaptive to the audience 
 • Flexible 
 • Interactive 
 • Experiential
 • Uses the senses
 • Creative 

It is Biblical… 

 • Miriam choreographed a group of women to sing, dance, and worship the LORD with hand drums. 
 • David Danced in the streets.
 • Ahimaaz the son of Zadok ran to get a message to David. 
 • Isaiah used poetry to point us to the Messiah.
 • Jeremiah smashed jars as visual aids to show the people God was going to smash them. 
 • Nehemiah shook his robes to show that this is what will happen to the ones that do not follow through with their word. 
 • Jesus used parables and questions.   • Paul wrote letters. 

In God’s call to the Nation’s, it is about using whatever method will help the person develop understanding and meaning when they hear the Word of GOD! 

I love how God’s message has been communicated from so many different methods! It is never about the method! It is about JESUS and reaching the people with HIS message. 

We are here today not to compete with one another, but to celebrate one another as we go to the nations in our unique, “Here I am” with whatever method, strategy, or mode that works to get people the gospel message! 

We celebrate you and thank GOD for all you do! 

Shalom y’all!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The 10 Commandments with Hidden Persian Numbers

When the kids were little Greg found images similar to these to teach the kids the 10 commandments. We were amazed that after looking at them for a few minutes both of them could tell us the 10 Commandments. 
I just recreated this set but this time there are images embedded in the drawings of the Persian script number. 

Can you find the Persian numbers? 

Can you name the 10 Commandments without looking them up?

Does this look like me and Greg?

I need advice. Which image for number 4 do you prefer?  

Do you like the Bible or the church to help you remember to keep the Sabbath?

How would you draw them?

I really like my bowing guy. No I am not keeping him as an idol!

The Most High God us number one in My life! 

Let me know if this was helpful.